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Silky Egg Drop Soup Recipe

When I get hungry — I mean really hungry — I descend into a state of madness deeper than hanger. I get feral. Relationships are endangered when I go without a snack for too long.

And, seeing as I am guilty of living in an ingredient household (where the pantry is more likely to be stocked with ingredients rather than ready-to-eat snacks), the danger of deteriorating into a state of carbohydrate-deficient rage is always prevalent. For the sake of my relationship, I started making this super quick, super simple egg drop soup to keep the hunger pangs (and accompanying mood swings) at bay.

Egg drop soup is a classic item on Chinese restaurant menus, though I admittedly saw it for the first time in a backwash of TikTok videos on my Instagram feed. Entranced by the pretty, butter-yellow swirls (it is for this reason that the dish translates to "egg flower soup"), I saved it with hundreds of other unwatched foodie videos in my dusty digital archive. Here it stayed until, in a snack emergency, I consulted my pantry and resurfaced with two faithful staples: powdered stock and eggs.

If you're wondering how to make egg drop soup, it's all in the name. The cooking method is comparable to poaching eggs, if you have no regard for the structural integrity of the egg. It's a bit like if a scrambled egg and a poached egg had a baby, really. Here's how to do it. But first...

Here's what you'll need from the shops

  • Eggs

  • Stock (I use a seafood stock from my local Korean market; I would recommend a mild, good-quality stock)

  • Sesame oil

  • Soy sauce

  • Scallion (optional)

  • Chilli oil (optional)

How to make egg drop soup

First, bring a small pot of water to a gentle boil on the stovetop.

Next, crack an egg into a bowl and whisk.

Once the water is boiling, turn it down to a simmer. If you keep the water at boiling point, you'll risk making rubbery eggs. Aim for smaller, more regular bubbles. Next, mix in your stock to taste. The stock I use is very mild in flavour, so I use it as a base and add soy sauce to up the umami factor. Taste your stock before you add your eggs!

The stock I use features this very reassuring ingredient description.

Chopsticks really help with the next step, but a fork will do the job. First, stir the simmering stock so that a small whirlpool forms in the middle.

Next, tip the whisked egg into the water and mix immediately. Aim to break up the egg so that it forms silken strands while it cooks in the hot water.

Keep the mixture on heat until you're happy with the consistency of the egg. It will cook in a matter of seconds and continue to cook even when you remove it from the heat, so don't dally if you want a silken texture to your eggs.

Decant the egg drop soup into a bowl and season with a few drops of sesame oil and, if you don't mind a fiery sensation in the back of the throat, a dribble of chilli oil. If you're looking to chase out a cold, this will do the trick.

You can dress this soup up even further with the addition of cooked egg noodles, dried seaweed, or even a soft-boiled egg for a three-egg ramen dish (though this would remove us from the realm of soup altogether).

Personally, I enjoy my egg drop soup best when I am idly passing the hours between the end of the work day and the beginning of dinner. There is something extraordinarily comforting about resorting to the same, timeless combination of broth and protein that has seen generations of people before me through thousands of years of human history.

Happy soup season, all!


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